Showing at the Edinburgh College of Art, ‘Third Base’ showcases the work the third year University of Edinburgh students have been compiling throughout this academic year.
The most stunning aspect upon entering is the sheer diversity of the work and the range of media used. Classical panting was put alongside prints, photography, sculpture, and intermedia. The different forms of media served to elevate their fellow students’ work in that it made the spectator question the significance of the chosen media; which brought about a further appreciation for the message of the work. One striking example of media diversity was a chair which had been stained grey in an archaic stone age manner and had a foothold at the end of its legs.
Right next to it were earphones which had been transformed to look almost like a household plant. But rather than looking like a meek decoration, the earphones revealed how when prominent everyday objects are turned into other everyday objects, their significance in our daily life is put into question.
Likewise, even with the classical style paintings on display, the subjects were non-classical which served to reevaluate traditional uses of various styles and techniques.
The layout was also well done. Usually exhibitions which showcase a variety of artists with widely differing themes and styles run the risk of a lack of coherence, but here the work was not only in harmony with one another, but they also placed themselves very well within the neoclassical framework of the sculpture court.
Streams of white fabric trailed and folded along pillars, immersing itself into the architecture; while large projections of text vouched to stand out in high contrast to its surrounding landscape.
Such spatial awareness should be commended. While the walls displayed the beautiful pieces of classical painting techniques and photography, the centre court became a hot pit for spatial experimentation.
At one corner you found yourself at a dinner table of complete debauchery with spaghetti which seemed to have reached all places but the mouth. In contrast, right next to this was another table elegantly carved from card accompanied by similarly styled chandeliers which boasted all the beauties of material wealth without the material or the wealth. It felt like I was entering into a conversation between a plethora of parallel universes, which defied any rational law of physics.
Overall the Third Base exhibition was a success in displaying the artistic skill which the University of Edinburgh has to offer. While I arguably come from a biased viewpoint by being a student at the university myself, the quality of the work speaks for itself in reinventing old media while tradionalising the new.
Image: Carlos Finlay